Sebastian Aho scored two goals in the second period, but the Carolina Hurricanes settled for a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERY | STATISTICS
The Canes fell to 3-2 in overtime this season when Seth Jones skated in on a 2-on-1 rush and scored on a top-shelf wrister in the last minute of the extra session. That gave Columbus the extra point, though the Canes were able to snag another all-important one in the standings.
"It's a good team, and they're going to grind you. They do it right, and you have to fight for everything you get," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "That's par for the course. We know what we're getting into. We just weren't quite ready to dig in at the start of the game."
Plus: Sebastian Aho
After a weary first period, Aho helped spark the Canes in the second.
Just 51 seconds into the middle stanza, he netted his 12th goal of the season to tie the game at one. As the Canes rolled a partial line change, Warren Foegele tried to jam a puck in, but Joonas Korpisalo poked it off his stick. Nino Niederreiter grabbed the rebound and fed Aho, who fired a shot past Korpisalo's glove.
Video: CBJ@CAR: Aho buries shot from the circle to tie game
Aho netted his second of the period on the power play. With Martin Necas stickhandling along the far half-wall, Aho backed into a soft spot in the high slot. Necas fed him for the one-timer, and Aho scorched a shot past Korpisalo through a Jordan Staal-sized screen in front.
Video: CBJ@CAR: Aho blasts a one-timer for a power-play goal
The goal was Aho's 13th of the season, tying him for the team lead. Aho has totaled eight points (5g, 3a) in his last six games.
"He's played well all year," Brind'Amour said. "He understands what he has to do as a leader on this team, and he's done that."
Minus: The first period
The Canes slogged their way through the first 20 minutes. As Jordan Martinook told Tripp Tracy in the first intermission interview, the team "wasn't even close to being good enough." Not totally unexpectedly, the Canes looked like a team that had travel nightmares two nights prior - because that's exactly what happened. The team's plane sat on the tarmac in Detroit for two hours while trying to outwait dense fog and zero visibility in Raleigh. The Canes were then re-routed to Greensboro, where they had to cobble together rooms in two hotels at 4 a.m. before busing to Raleigh six hours later. It's not meant to be an excuse; it's a rational explanation for why the team performed the way it did in the first period.
"Our first period was really bad, which I somewhat expected to happen, to be honest with you, just with the way our last couple of days have been," Brind'Amour said. "We kind of got going, and it was a pretty even game after that, but it's tough to play 40 minutes in the NHL and expect to win."
Not totally unexpected either was the Canes' response in the latter two periods of the game. The leadership in that room wasn't going to let a tough travel night and a plodding 20 minutes define an entire game.
"We didn't like our first period at all. We weren't skating hard enough. We just gave it to them too easily in the first period," Aho said. "We got back, and it's always nice to see the team dig in and come back. The first period was not good enough."
10: Dougie Hamilton recorded the secondary assist on Aho's power-play goal in the second period to extend his point streak to 10 games (2g, 10a). Hamilton is one game shy of equaling Mark Howe's franchise-long point streak by a defenseman, set in 1980.
69: Jordan Martinook is the 69th player in franchise history to play his 400th career game in the NHL with the club.
5-0-2: The Canes are 5-0-2 in their third jerseys this season and own a 30-11-5 overall record (including regular season and playoffs) in the black alternates.
Quote of the Night
"We can't be too negative. We have to learn from the mistakes, but we can't let this creep in. We've got to keep our heads up and go back to work. That's the key to our game, that we outwork other teams. That's our goal in the next game." - Sebastian Aho
The Canes and Blue Jackets rematch on Saturday night before this four-game set shifts to Columbus.